Lights, Camera, Gaming? Lionsgate's Plan For Games

Steve Anderson : End Game
Steve Anderson
The Video Store Guy
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Lights, Camera, Gaming? Lionsgate's Plan For Games

Anyone who's been gaming for any length of time likely remembers the movie tie-in game. I'll give you a moment to wash the bad taste of your mouth. Most people do not remember the movie tie-in game well, much as most people don't remember the game tie-in movie very well. But there are ways to do it right, and an odd newcomer to the field, Lionsgate, is looking to turn its movies into games, and do so right.

Lionsgate has come a long way since its early days, and now holds several major franchises in its portfolio. “The Hunger Games” might best be described as just the most recent such enterprise, and that's the kind of thing that could make some substantial fodder for a gaming effort. While speaking at the GamesBeat 2014 conference, Lionsgate's president of interactive ventures and games, Peter Levin, noted that “We're looking at our games business as the third leg of the stool.” Lionsgate has a presence in theatrical-release movies, as well as in home entertainment, a rapidly-increasing part of the business.

To that end, Lionsgate has put some substantial investment forward, putting in some backing for Next Games out of Finland, and some reports put Lionsgate with Kabam in the construction of a “Hunger Games” game as well. Reports further suggest that there could be as many as six such titles or so coming out over the course of the next year.

Lionsgate isn't exactly new to the gaming market; there have been two “Saw” titles released already, and “Saw” was easily one of Lionsgate's biggest affairs. Lionsgate titles have an excellent tendency to run the gamut, so seeing games come out around Lionsgate properties makes a certain amount of sense. While there are some who believe that the console itself is on the way out, and not without at least a certain note of reason—I maintain that the PC is going to have to see some fairly serious modification in order to make that jump, particularly in terms of the control scheme—there's still quite a bit of life left in the console market, and that's going to give Lionsgate a lot of opportunity in terms of pushing into the game market.

The thing about this is that the theatrical market is in something of a decline. While there have been those calling for the theater's demise for years—I've been a part of that myself—there's no denying that home theater has been gaining, and in a major way, for years. People are staying home and watching movies and playing games a lot more often than ever before—people are working from home as well, a development referred to as the mobile workforce—so for Lionsgate to offer up more content available not in a central location at which users gather but as a streaming service or the like just makes sense. Lionsgate, after all, is a big part of the Epix network, and that's just sort of a capitulation to the growth of home viewing.

So yes, it makes a lot of sense for Lionsgate to get in on the home gaming market as well as the home viewing market. But hopefully, the lessons of E.T and the various movie tie-in games of the past has been learned, and we'll get quality games with movie plotlines emerging. This could be very big for Lionsgate, but only if it's done right.

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